In the world of digital marketing, it’s not enough to believe in the value of the brand you are promoting. Your goal is to connect the ideal customer with that product in an engaging and effective way. You’re hoping to build trust which results in a purchase and ultimately brand loyalty. Your success as a digital marketer depends on your skills in two basic areas: technology and human behavior. You need to keep up with technological advances while also understanding the basics of what grabs consumers’ attention. Understanding the trends that influence the field of marketing is a key component of your job; here are some movements to keep an eye on in 2021.
Focus on the Customer Experience
User experience is increasingly important to customers, so now more than even you need to focus your efforts on creating an online marketing strategy that is seamless, safe, and personalized. Along with ensuring that your website’s content is relevant and helpful, make sure it’s easy to navigate and is optimized for mobile devices. In a world where there are literally millions of products available at the click of a button, do everything you can to make it easy and enjoyable for customers to find yours.
One exciting new venue for reaching and delighting customers is through the use of vending machines. Once used for simple transactions involving trading cash for a snack, these machines are rapidly evolving into smart machines that provide an excellent user experience while also enabling digital delivery of custom content. Wifi vending machines allow digital marketers to reach customers through every screen via videos, commercials, and even interactive games. These messages can be managed remotely, making it easy to create dynamic campaigns that engage the public and build brand recognition. Promoting your product on these cutting-edge vending machines means your customers will automatically associate your brand with innovation.
Leverage the Latest Technologies
Voice search is another hot topic in digital marketing. With the explosion in popularity of smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, more and more people are expected to use them to search by voice command when researching a purchase. You’ll need to review your content and make sure it’s compatible with voice search since people tend to query differently by voice as opposed to typing. Voice inquiries tend to be more conversational and searchers are looking for direct answers to their questions. Analyzing how your brand shows up to voice searchers is an important investment in keeping your company relevant and top-of-mind.
Another rapidly emerging trend is the use of chatbots. Powered by artificial intelligence, these helpful pop-ups are increasingly popular with consumers, as they can answer basic questions quickly, at any time of day or night. If you’re not already using it, consider investing in this technology. Not only does it improve your customers’ experience, but it can also gather and analyze data that allows you to finetune your service delivery by alerting you to common questions and frustrations experienced by the people interacting with your site.
The marriage of chatbots and voice technology could be a match made in heaven for your digital marketing strategy. While initiating such a sophisticated voice-activated chatbox system might take a lot of time and effort, its pay-off could be immense. Imagine the possibilities of delivering personalized content directly to customers in the intimacy of their own home through a two-way conversation. That type of dynamic interaction has the potential for creating an unforgettable customer experience.
Exciting advances are also being made in virtual reality and augmented reality, and these innovations are beginning to enter the digital marketing space. Imagine your customer being able to actually “see” a new sofa in their own living room or try on a pair of jeans virtually before purchasing them. Blending the best-loved aspects of shopping in a physical store with the convenience of online shopping at home is a powerful tool that is sure to continue to grow in popularity, especially in the industries most likely to benefit from AR/VR marketing.
Remember the Personal Touch
Ironically, in an age when technology makes it possible for your potential customers to access literally millions of products with a single click, the personal touch is more important now than ever. In the old days, a dissatisfied customer might grumble about his experience to family and friends; today, he could launch a massive online campaign that might deter countless potential customers. Word of mouth advertising offers the greatest return on investment. After all, it’s free of charge. But to earn it, your company must follow the age-old practice of providing a good product, stellar customer service, and unquestionable integrity.
One way to incorporate these ideas into digital marketing is two-way communication between customers and companies. Instead of simply posting information and updates, businesses are increasingly engaging with their customers directly, one-on-one, through social media channels. This type of interaction is highly personal, allowing companies to create a clearly-defined personality that is authentic and relatable. Also, having discussions with customers, rather than simply responding to static posts and reviews, allows a business to truly understand their needs and desires. Investing in the social aspects of customer relations is an often intangible but essential component of your marketing plan.
Remember that, like everything else in this digital world, social media platforms are continuously evolving. While your presence on the traditional sites like Facebook and Twitter is probably well-established, keep your eye on what’s on the horizon and how you might leverage them in your marketing efforts. There are platforms designed to connect Black professionals, endurance athletes, and beer drinkers, to name a few. Find out where your ideal customer likes to hang out, then make sure you’re there as well, offering helpful information and support.
There is no crystal ball to gaze into when planning your digital marketing strategy. To be successful, your best bet is to stay on top of the latest trends and adopt the ones that make sense for your business.